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Skin Conditions in Dark Skin

Keloids (Scar Tissue) and Dark Skin

Any time black skin becomes injured, this dramatically increases the risk of keloids -- a scar that spreads beyond the boundary of the original injury and develops into a growth on its own. Most commonly occurring on the earlobes, chest, back, and arms, keloids can develop immediately following an injury or take a long time to grow. Sometimes keloids can itch, cause pain and burning, or be tender to the touch.

No one knows for certain why keloids develop, but one popular theory links them to defects in collagen production that occurs when skin is injured. Treatments for keloids include cortisone injections, radiation therapy, pressure dressings, and silicone gel applications. Keloids can also be removed via traditional or laser surgery, though they can recur.

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (Ingrown Hairs of the Beard) and Black Skin

Picture of Razor Bumps The shape of the hair shaft in people of African heritage is curved, not straight. This is true of not only hair on the head, but also on the face and anywhere on the body, and there lies the source of several black skin conditions.

One such common issue is ingrown hairs, a particular problem for men who shave too closely. Doing so can lead to the pointed, sharp ends of the beard growing back into the skin, resulting in acne-like bumps, which in turn can become infected and/or lead to hyperpigmentation.

For some men, chemical hair removers can help, but they should never be used on a daily basis. Electrolysis, which permanently removes the hair at the root, can be helpful as well. The latest and most effective solution involves laser hair removal, combined with creams that slow hair growth.

Another solution is to simply shave less often (or grow a beard), and when you do shave, soften the beard with soapy lather and never shave against the direction of the stubble. Sometimes, exfoliating skin scrubs used before shaving can help .

Also, dark-skinned men who use a razor for trimming hair on the back of their necks can develop a similar problem known as acne keloidalis nuchae or folliculitis keloidalis. In this instance, the bumps may itch and occasionally become infected. When this happens, oral antibiotics and topical acne products, or sometimes topical or injected cortisone treatments can help. If lesions persist and/or become severe, surgery may be necessary.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on September 02, 2014
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